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Eddie Hapgood

Eddie Hapgood


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Edris (Eddie) Hapgood was born in Bristol on 27th September 1908. After leaving school he worked as a milkman. He also played football for St. Phillip's Adult School Juniors. He was spotted by a director of Bristol Rovers and given a trial in a reserve match against Taunton United on May 7, 1927. He was offered a contract of £8 a week but he turned it down. Instead he signed for Kettering Town, who only paid him £4 a week but allowed him to carry on work as a milkman.

Hapgood continued to improve and in October 1927, Herbert Chapman signed him for a fee of £750. He only weighed 9 stones 6 pounds at the time and as Tom Whittaker, the Arsenal trainer, pointed out: "Hapgood used to cause a lot of worry by frequently being knocked out when heading the ball." Whittaker later recalled: "All sorts of reasons were propounded as to why this should happen, but eventually I spotted the cause. Eddie was too light, and we had to build him up. At that time he was a vegetarian, but I decided he should eat meat."

At this time the leather ball used in football got very heavy in wet weather. Headers had to be from the forehead. Anywhere else on the head, and even the strongest player could be knocked unconscious. One of the greatest headers of all time, Stan Cullis, suffered severe concussion on several occasions. Cullis, eventually was forced to retire after he was warned by a doctor that because of his previous head injuries, even heading a heavy leather football could prove fatal.

Hapgood joined a talented team that included players such as Alex James, David Jack, Jimmy Brain, Joe Hulme, Jack Lambert, Bob John, Jack Butler, Andy Neil, Jimmy Ramsey, Billy Blyth, Cliff Bastin, Herbert Roberts, Alf Baker and Tom Parker.

Hapgood made his debut against Birmingham City on 19th November 1927. It was not long before he was the club's regular left-back. As Jeff Harris pointed out in his book, Arsenal Who's Who: "Hapgood's many splendid attributes included, being technically exceptional, he showed shrewd anticipation and he was elegant, polished, unruffled and calm." Tom Whittaker added that: "Hapgood was an extraordinary youngster. Confident beyond his years, some people found him insufferable at times. But it was the supreme confidence in his own ability which made him such a great player."

In the 1929-30 season Arsenal finished in 14th place in the First Division. They did much better in the FA Cup. Arsenal beat Birmingham City (1-0), Middlesbrough (2-0), West Ham United (3-0) and Hull City (1-0) to reach the final against Chapman's old club, Huddersfield Town. Arsenal won the game 2-0 with goals from Alex James and Jack Lambert and Hapgood had his first cup winners' medal.

The following season Arsenal won their first ever First Division Championship with a record 66 points. The Gunners only lost four games that season. Jack Lambert was top-scorer with 38 goals.

Alex James was injured for a large part of the 1931-32 season and this was a major factor in Arsenal losing the title by two points to Everton. Arsenal won the First Division by four points in the 1932-33 season. Cliff Bastin was the club's top scorer with 33 goals. This was the highest total ever scored by a winger in a league season.

Hapgood won his first international cap for England against Italy on 13th May 1933. The game ended in a 1-1 draw but Hapgood was to remain a regular member of the team for the next six years. The England team at that time included Cliff Bastin, Wilf Copping, Albert Geldard, Eric Brook, Willie Hall, Sammy Crooks, Raich Carter, Frank Moss, Joe Hulme, Jackie Bray, George Camsell, Tom Cooper, Stanley Matthews, Fred Tilson, Cliff Britton, Ray Westwood, George Male, Frank Broome, Stan Cullis, Ted Drake, Len Goulden, Bert Sproston, Vic Woodley, Tommy Lawton and Alf Young.

When Tom Parker left Arsenal in 1933 Herbert Chapman appointed Hapgood as club captain. The following year he became captain of England. This included the match against Italy on 14th November 1934 where Hapgood suffered a broken nose.

Bob Wall, Arsenal's assistant manager, wrote in his autobiography, Arsenal from the Heart: "He (Hapgood) played his football in a calm, authoritative way and he would analyse a game in the same quiet, clear-cut manner. Eddie set Arsenal players the highest possible example in technical skill and personal behaviour."

Sunderland were the main challengers to Arsenal in the 1933-34 season thanks to a forward line that included Raich Carter, Patsy Gallacher, Bob Gurney and Jimmy Connor. In March 1934 Sunderland went a point ahead. However, the Gunners had games in hand and they clinched the league title with a 2-0 victory over Everton.

The following season Arsenal only finished in 6th place behind Sunderland. Arsenal did much better in the FA Cup that season. Arsenal beat Liverpool (2-0), Newcastle United (3-0), Barnsley (4-1) and Grimsby Town (1-0) to reach the final against Sheffield United. Ted Drake, who was not fully fit, scored the only goal of the final. Hapgood had won his second cup winners' medal.

Some of Arsenal's key players such as Cliff Bastin, Alex James, Joe Hulme, Bob John and Herbert Roberts were past their best. Ted Drake and Ray Bowden continued to suffer from injuries, whereas Frank Moss was forced to retire from the game. Given these problems Arsenal did well to finish in 3rd place in the 1936-37 season.

Before the start of the 1937-38 season Herbert Roberts, Bob John and Alex James retired from football. Joe Hume was out with a long-term back injury and Ray Bowden was sold to Newcastle United. However, a new group of younger players such as Bernard Joy, Alf Kirchen and Leslie Compton, became regulars in the side. George Hunt was also bought from Tottenham Hotspur to provide cover for Ted Drake who was still suffering from a knee injury. Eddie Hapgood, Cliff Bastin and George Male were now the only survivors of the team managed by Herbert Chapman.

Wolves were expected to be Arsenal's main rivals in the 1937-38 season. However, it was Brentford who led the table in February. They also beat Arsenal on 18th April, a game in which Ted Drake broke his wrist and suffered a bad head wound. However, it was the only two points they won during a eight game period and gradually dropped out of contention.

On the last day of the season Wolves were away to Sunderland. If Wolves won the game they would be champions, but they drew 1-1. Arsenal beat Bolton Wanderers at Highbury and won their fifth title in eight years. As a result of his many injuries, Ted Drake only played in 28 games but he still ended up the club's top scorer with 17 goals. This was Hapgood's 5th league championship medal.

In May 1938 Hapgood was selected for the England tour of Europe. The first match was against Germany in Berlin. Adolf Hitler wanted to make use of this game as propaganda for his Nazi government. While the England players were getting changed an Football Association official went into their dressing-room and told them that they had to give the raised arm Nazi salute during the playing of the German national anthem. As Stanley Matthews later recalled: "The dressing room erupted. There was bedlam. All the England players were livid and totally opposed to this, myself included. Everyone was shouting at once. Eddie Hapgood, normally a respectful and devoted captain, wagged his finger at the official and told him what he could do with the Nazi salute, which involved putting it where the sun doesn't shine."

The FA official left only to return some minutes later saying he had a direct order from Sir Neville Henderson the British Ambassador in Berlin. The players were told that the political situation between Britain and Germany was now so sensitive that it needed "only a spark to set Europe alight". As a result the England team reluctantly agreed to give the Nazi salute.

The game was watched by 110,000 people as well as senior government figures such as Herman Goering and Joseph Goebbels. England won the game 6-3. This included a goal scored by Len Goulden that Stanley Matthews described as "the greatest goal I ever saw in football".

On Friday, 1st September, 1939, Adolf Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland. On Sunday 3rd September Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany. The government immediately imposed a ban on the assembly of crowds and as a result the Football League competition was brought to an end.

During the Second World War Hapgood served in the Royal Air Force. However, he did manage to play in over hundred friendly games between 1939 and 1945.

Hapgood returned to Arsenal after the war but he retired from playing in December 1945. During his time at the club he played in 434 league and cup games. He also made 30 appearances for England, most of these as captain. According to Tom Whittaker, the Arsenal trainer, during his career: "Hapgood got concussion three times, broke both ankles and broke his nose on three occasions."

In 1945 Hapgood published his autobiography, Football Ambassador. He also became manager of Blackburn Rovers but after the club finished in 17th place in the 1946-47 season he resigned. Hapgood then managed Watford in the Third Division South. After two unsuccessful seasons he left in 1950. He also took charge of Bath City between 1950 and 1956.

After losing his job at Bath he had some financial difficulties. Hapgood wrote to the Arsenal asking if he could have the testimonial match he did not have as a player. The club refused but did send him a cheque for £30. Hapgood also ran a YMCA at Harwell and Weymouth.

Eddie Hapgood died in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on 20th April 1973. He was 64 years old.

I played little football at school. To be exact, only two games. Toward the end of my stay at the council school, efforts were being made to introduce more P.T. into the school curriculum. Football was also to be incorporated, so the headmaster told me to get a team together, and he fixed us up with clobber. We only played two matches, before I moved on to a higher grade school!

So it wasn't until I had finished school some years and had gone out into the world to earn my living, which consisted of driving a milk cart for my brother-in-law, who had a dairy near Bristol, that I took the game seriously. Then I got the bug and whipped up my old horse every Saturday morning to get away for a game with a local club, St. Mostly I played full-back, but on one occasion went centre-forward in the second-half and scored four goals in ten minutes!

After a dozen games, Bill Collier, the Kettering manager, called me into his office and introduced me to a chubby man in tweeds, whose spectacles failed to hide the shrewd, appraising look from his blue eyes. I didn't know it then, but I was to see this man many times before he died so tragically seven years later.

"Eddie, this is Mr. Herbert Chapman, the Arsenal manager," said Bill Collier. "And the other gentleman is Mr. George Allison." And so I met two of the men who were to play such a major part in my future football career.

Herbert Chapman didn't say anything for a few seconds, then shot out, " Well, young man, do you smoke or drink ?" Rather startled, I said, "No, sir." "Good," he answered. " Would you like to sign for Arsenal!" Would I. I could hardly set pen to paper fast enough. I believe Mr. Chapman paid Kettering roughly £1,000 for my transfer - £750 down and a guarantee of about £200 for a friendly match later on. But I didn't worry about that at the time.

That remark of Mr. Chapman's about smoking and drinking impressed itself on my mind, for I have never done either during my career, with the exception of drinking occasional toasts at banquets and other functions.

Herbert Chapman was a great planner who loved to sit up to the early hours with Tom Whittaker and, perhaps, a newspaperman or two, arguing tactics, angles, theories; whose first thought was for the players - "if they are settled then I can be comfortable too" was his code; who never made a bad "buy"; who could not tolerate dirty play or slacking - the man who made Arsenal.

Herbert, in his early days a professional footballer, loved the game and understood it as well as anybody. He never forgot his first connection with the game, and, although his main interest was to give bigger and better football to the public, he always had a soft spot for the pro.

His death in 1934 left a gap which, to my mind, has never been adequately filled. I shall long remember that day. We were due to play Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury. I was shaving at my Finchley home when Alice Moss, wife of our goalkeeper, came rushing in in an awful state. While shopping she had seen the placards which shrieked to the world "Herbert Chapman Dead." I still had one side of my face lathered, and so stunned was I by the news that I stayed that way for quite fifteen minutes. Then I finished my shave and hurried along to the ground to find the news was only too true. Highbury backstage was like a morgue that afternoon and we weren't very keen on the job of playing football.

It was a long time before we recovered from that tragic day. Herbert Chapman, the man who had done so much, and who still had so much to do. We may never see his like again. As I have already said, when Mr. Chapman went, Tom Whittaker tried to fill the gap for us. Tom is a great lad and a gentleman. He looked after us as if we were a flock of unruly sheep. Even Alex James was less boisterous when Tom was around.

Looking back, I realise I must have been a difficult customer for Tom. I rarely trained with the other lads, preferring to slog away by myself. It was not that I didn't get on with the rest of the players, or thought that I knew more than Tom could teach me, but I felt I knew just how far I could go when I was training myself. Often I trained in the empty stadium. If ever there's a ghost at Highbury, he'll probably look like me.

Tom used to let me go my own sweet way. I'm glad he had that trust in me. I was always training. One of my favourite tricks was to take a ball over the railings on the terracing, bang it up the slope and intercept it as it came bobbing down, cannoning off railings and the wooden piles. Surprising how helpful this became-but be careful of your ankles if you try it.

Tom always says I'm the toughest player he ever met. When I first arrived at Highbury I weighed only nine stone, six pounds. I was probably the lightest full-back on the books of a league club at the time....

About this time I was causing a lot of worry to the club by frequently being knocked unconscious while heading the ball, particularly on heavy grounds.

All sorts of reasons were put forward to answer this phenomenon-I even heard said that I had no bone on the top of my head-but Tom Whittaker found out what was wrong. "You're too light," he told me, " and we've got to build you up." At that time I was a vegetarian and old Tom decided I'd got to eat meat. My first meat dish was a plate of thinly cut ham. I got that down and progressed by various stages until I was eating steaks as thick as Whitaker's Almanack.

1929 was a year of destiny for Arsenal and myself. In that year the foundations were laid of the mighty side which was to sweep everything before it, and which was to become the greatest club side soccer history has known.

During the season which ended in April 1929, 1 had finally clinched my place in the Arsenal first team, while Herbert Roberts, Charlie Jones and Jack Lambert had also made their appearance. During the following summer, Herbert Chapman made two of his greatest buys, to change, materially, the fortunes of our club.

He signed Alexander James and Clifford Sydney Bastin.

James was 28 and brought, from Preston, a reputation 'which cost Arsenal £9,000; Bastin was barely seventeen and had been a professional footballer a matter of weeks. What a contrast - and what a wing.

Brought together from clubs as far apart as Preston and Exeter; one a tough little Scot from Bellshill, hard as a nut, commercially-minded, determined to get much out of football, who had joined Arsenal because it offered the best possibilities of improving his position; the other, the son of sturdy West Country folk, who was born to be great, quiet, reserved, but, even then, with the infinite ability of being able to play football with the touch of the master . their destinies were irretrievably interwoven. The James-Bastin wing was a natural.

Hapgood used to cause a lot of worry by frequently being knocked out when heading the ball.... All sorts of reasons were propounded as to why this should happen, but eventually I spotted the cause. At that time he was a vegetarian, but I decided he should eat meat.

My greatest Cup Final thrill was my first in 1930, I had only been in the Arsenal first team little over a year. We beat mighty Huddersfield that day, a great win, and a great moment for the Old Boss, who had made Huddersfield into a wonderful side, and who had then come on to make us an even greater team. That was the start of our great run. In the next eight years we won the League five times, were runners-up once and finished third on another occasion. We also won the Cup and were beaten in the Final.

There was a lot of newspaper criticism about our first goal. One school of thought had it that Alex James committed an infringement when scoring. Others argued that it was quite legal. We of the Arsenal contended then, and I do so now, that it was fair. And a conversation I had with Tom Crew, who refereed the game, some time later, bears out that contention.

Alex was fouled somewhere near the penalty area, and, almost before the ball had stopped rolling, had taken the free-kick. He sent a short pass to Cliff Bastin, moved into position to take a perfect return, and banged the ball into the Huddersfield net for the all-important first goal. Tom Crew told me that James made a silent appeal for permission to take the kick, and he waved him on. It was one of the smartest moves ever made in a big match and it gave us the Cup. I contend that it was fair tactics; for if Alex had waited a few seconds for the whistle, the Huddersfield defence would have been in position, and the advantage of the free-kick would have been lost. Jack Lambert got the second goal late in the second half, also from a move by Alex.

The game got under way and from the very first tackles, I was left in no doubt that this was going to be a rough house of a game. I wasn't wrong. After a challenge between Drake and Monti, the Italian had to leave the pitch with a broken foot after only two minutes. This only made matters worse. For the first quarter of an hour there might just as well have not been a ball on the pitch as far as the Italians were concerned. They were like men possessed, kicking anything and everything that moved bar the referee. The game degenerated into nothing short of a brawl and it disgusted me...

Ted Drake latched on to an ale-house long ball out of defence and broke away to score a wonderful individual goal on his international debut. He paid for it. Minutes after the game re-started I watched in sadness as Ted was carried from the field, tears in his eyes, his left sock torn apart to reveal a gushing wound.

I thought the three quick goals would calm the Italians down, showing them that rough-house play didn't pay dividends, but they got worse. I felt it was a great shame they had adopted such tactics because individually they were very talented players with terrific on-the-ball skills. They didn't have to resort to rough-house play to win games. Why they had done so this day was beyond me.

Not long after Eric Brook had put us two up, Bertolini hit Eddie Hapgood a savage blow in the face with his elbow as he walked past him. Eddie fell like a Wall Street price in 1929. The next few minutes were dreadful. Tempers flared on both sides, there was a lot of pushing and jostling and punches were exchanged. I abhor such behaviour on the field and when I saw Eddie Hapgood being led off with blood streaming down his face from a broken nose, it sickened me. I'd been really keyed up and looking forward to showing what I could do on the big international scene, but this game was turning into a nightmare.

The game got under way again and the Italians continued where they had left off. It got to a few of our players and I don't mind saying it affected me. Fortunately, we had two real hard nuts in the England side that day in Eric Brook and Wilf Copping who started to dish out as good as they got and more. Wilf was an iron man of a half-back, a Geordie who didn't shave for three days preceding a game because he felt it made him look mean and hard. It did and he was. Eric Brook received a nasty shoulder injury and continued to play manfully with his shoulder strapped up. He was in obvious pain but he just carried on, seemingly ignoring it.

Just before half-time, Wilf Copping hit the Italian captain Monti with a tackle that he seemed to launch from some¬where just north of Leeds. Monti went up in the air like a rocket and down like a bag of hammers and had to leave the field with a splintered bone in his foot. Italy were starting to get the upper hand and laid siege to our goal. It was desperate stuff.

Our dressing room at half-time resembled a field hospital. We were 3-0 up but had paid a bruising price. No one had failed to pick up an injury of one sort of another. The language and comments coming from my England team-mates made my hair stand on end. I was still only 19 but came to the conclusion I'd been leading a sheltered life. I was relieved when our team trainer came into the dressing room, calmed everyone down and said that under no circumstances were we to copy the Italian tactics. We were to go out, he said, and play the way every English team had been taught to play. To do anything but, he said, would exacerbate the situation. Exacerbate the situation? It was already a bloodbath.

The game against Germany took on a significance far beyond football. The Nazi propaganda machine saw it as an opportunity to display Third Reich superiority and played up that disconcerting theme big style in the German newspapers. The German team had spent ten days preparing for the game at a special training centre in the Black Forest, whereas after a long and tiresome train journey, we had less than two days to prepare for what we knew was going to be a game of truly epic proportions, a game which to this day is looked upon as the most infamous game England have ever been involved in and all due to one incident.

After all this time, and once and for all, I would like to set the record straight about that incident. As the players were getting changed, an FA official came into our dressing room and informed us that when our national anthem was played, the German team would salute as a mark of respect.

The FA wanted us to reciprocate by giving the raised arm Nazi salute during the playing of the German national anthem. The dressing room erupted. Eddie Hapgood, normally a respectful and devoted captain, wagged his finger at the official and told him what he could do with the Nazi salute, which involved putting it where the sun doesn't shine. In fact, Eddie went so far as to offer a compromise, saying we would stand to attention military style but the offer fell on deaf ears.

I sat there crestfallen, thinking what on earth my family and the people back home would think if they saw me and the rest of the England team paying lip service, so to speak, to the Nazi regime and its leaders.

The beleaguered FA official left only to return some minutes later saying he had a direct order from Sir Neville Henderson the British Ambassador in Berlin that had been endorsed by the FA secretary Stanley Rous. We were told that the political situation between Great Britain and Germany was now so sensitive that it needed "only a spark to set Europe alight". Faced with the knowledge of the direst consequences, we felt we had little choice in the matter and reluctantly agreed to the request. However, the game was different. We knew we had it in our power to do something about the match itself and to a man we took the field determined to do so.

All of 110,000 people were crammed into the Olympic Stadium, including Goering and Goebbels, and they roared their approval as the German team took the field. If ever men in the cause of sport felt isolated and so very far from their homes, it was the England team that day in Berlin. The Olympic Stadium was draped in red, black and white swastikas with a large portrait of Hitler above the stand where the Nazi leaders and dignitaries sat. It seemed every supporter on the massed terraces had a smaller version of the swastika and they held them aloft in a silent show of collective defiance as the England team ran out.

During the pre-match kick-in, I went behind our goal to retrieve a wayward ball and an amazing thing happened. As I curled my foot around the ball to steer it back towards the pitch, two lone voices called out, "Let them have it, Stan. Come on England!"

I scanned the sea of faces and the hundreds of swastikas before I saw the most uplifting sight I have ever seen at a football ground. There, right at the front of the terracing, were two Englishmen who had draped a small Union Jack over the perimeter fencing in front of them. Whether they were civil servants from the British Embassy, on holiday or what I don't know, but the brave and uplifting words of those two solitary English supporters among 110,000 Nazis had a profound effect on me and the rest of the England team that day.

When I got back on to the pitch I pointed out the two supporters to our captain Eddie Hapgood and the word spread throughout the team. We all looked across to these two doughty men, who responded by raising the thumbs of their right hands in encouragement. As a team we were immediately galvanised, determined and uplifted by the courage of these two supporters and their small Union Jack Up to that point, I had never given much thought to our national flag. That afternoon however, small as that particular version was, it took on the greatest of symbolism for me and my England team-mates. It seemed to stand for everything we believed in, everything we had left behind in England and wanted to preserve. Above all, it reminded me that we were not after all alone.

The photograph of the England team giving the Nazi salute appeared in newspapers throughout the world the next day to the eternal shame of every player and Britain as a whole. But look closely at the photograph and you will see the German team looking straight ahead but the England players looking off to their left. I can tell you that all our eyes were fixed upon that Union Jack from which we were drawing the inspiration that would carry us to a fantastic and memorable victory.

Away we went, and, in fifteen minutes, had the match (apparently) well won. Inside thirty seconds we should have been one up, but Eric Brook's penalty effort was magnificently saved by Ceresoli, the Italian goalkeeper, and a very good one, too. But Eric made up for that. After nine minutes, he headed a cross from Matthews into the net, and, two minutes later, smashed in a second goal from a terrific free kick, taken just outside the penalty area.

Our lads were playing glorious football and the Italians, by this time, were beginning to lose their tempers. Barely had the cheers died down from the 50,000 crowd, than I ran into trouble. The ball went into touch on my side of the field, and, to save time, the Italian right-winger threw the ball in. It went high over me, and, as I doubled back to collar it, the right-half, without making any effort whatsoever to get the ball, jumped up in front of me and carefully smashed his elbow into my face.

I recovered in the dressing-room, with the faint roar from the crowd greeting our third goal (Drake), ringing in my ears, and old Tom working on my gory face. I asked him if my nose was broken, and he, busily putting felt supports on either side, and strapping plaster or, said it was. As soon as he had finished his ministrations, I jumped up and ran out on to the field again.

There was a regular battle going on, each side being a man short - Monti had also left the field after stubbing his toe and breaking a small bone in his foot. The Italians had gone beserk, and were kicking everybody and everything in sight. My injury had, apparently, started the fracas, and, although our lads were trying to keep their tempers, it's a bit hard to play like a gentleman when somebody' closely resembling an enthusiastic member of the Mafia is wiping his studs down your legs, or kicking you up in the air from behind.

Wilf Copping enjoyed himself that afternoon. For the first time in their lives the Italians were given a sample of real honest shoulder charging, and Wilf's famous double-footed tackle was causing them furiously to think.

The Italians had the better of the second half, and, but for herculean efforts by our defence, might have drawn, or even won, the match. Meazza scored two fine goals in two minutes midway through the half, and only Moss's catlike agility kept him from securing his hat-trick and the equaliser. And we held out, with the Italians getting wilder and dirtier every minute and the crowd getting more incensed. One of the newspaper men was so disgusted with the display that he signed his story "By Our War Correspondent."

The England dressing-room after the match looked like a casualty clearing station. Eric Brook (who had had his elbow strapped up on the field) and I were packed off to the Royal Northern Hospital for treatment, while Drake, who had been severely buffeted, and once struck in the face, Bastin and Bowden were patients in Tom Whittaker's surgery.

The story starts in 1936. That year England competed in the Berlin Olympic Games, held in the fabulous stadium, built for the sole purpose of impressing the world with Nazi might-hundreds of millions of marks were spent, not only in the building, but in propaganda to put over the Games.

Mr. Stanley Rous, the Football Association secretary, went over in charge of the English amateur side, which competed in the soccer tournament. Early on, the question of the salute to be given Hitler at the march-past was causing some anxiety. After most of the other countries had decided on the Olympic salute (which is given with the right arm flung sideways, not forward and upward like the Nazi salute), it was arranged that the English athletes should give only the 'eyes right.' Mr. Rous told me afterwards that, to Hitler, and the crowd stepped up in masses round him, the turning of the head by the English team probably passed unnoticed after the outflung arms of the other athletes. So much so that the crowd booed our lads, among them Arsenal colleague, Bernard Joy, and everyone seemed highly offended.

When it was our turn to come into the limelight two years later over the same vexed question of the salute, Mr. Wreford Brown, the member in charge of the England team and Mr. Rous, sought guidance from Sir Nevile Henderson, the British Ambassador to Germany, when our party arrived in Berlin. Mr. Rous reminded Sir Nevile of his previous experience and suggested, as an act of courtesy, but what was more important, in order to get the crowd in a good temper, the team should give the salute of Germany before the start. Sir Nevile, vastly relieved at the readiness of the F.A. officials to help him in what must have been an extremely difficult situation, gladly agreed it was the wisest course.

Mr. Wreford Brown and Mr. Rous came back from the Embassy, called me in (I was captain) and explained what they thought the team should do. I replied, "We are of the British Empire and I do not see any reason why we should give the Nazi salute; they should understand that we always stand to attention for every National Anthem. We have never done it before-we have always stood to attention, but we will do everything to beat them fairly and squarely." I then went out to see the rest of the players to tell them what was in the offing. There was much muttering in the ranks.

When we were all together a few hours before the game, Mr. Wreford Brown informed the lads what I had already passed on. He added that as there were undercurrents of which we knew nothing, and it was virtually out of his hands and a matter for the politicians rather than the sportsmen, it had been agreed that to give the salute was the wisest course. Privately he told us that he and Mr. Rous felt as sick as we did, but that, under the circumstances, it was the correct thing to do.

Well, that was that, and we were all pretty miserable about it. Personally, I felt a fool heiling Hitler, but Mr. Rous's diplomacy worked, for we went out determined to beat the Germans. And after our salute had been received with tremendous enthusiasm, we settled down to do just that. The only humorous thing about the whole affair was that while we gave the salute only one way, the German team gave it to the four corners of the ground.

The sequel came at the dinner in the evening after the game, given by the Reich Association of Physical Exercises, when, with everybody in high good humour, Sir Nevile Henderson whispered to Mr. Rous, " You and the players proved yourselves to be good Ambassadors after all !"

Among the full backs, Eddie Hapgood was a classic. He was a real football enthusiast, and never tired either of talking about the game or of playing it. His creed was that a good footballer should obtain the maximum advantage from the minimum effort, and Eddie certainly practised what he preached. His positional play and his ball control was an object lesson to every youngster.

Eddie was also a great captain - and there are few great captains around these days. He was a stickler for discipline, he was hard, he was a driver ... but isn't that what you want in a skipper? Some of his pre-match pep talks should have been recorded. They would have been real eye, or ear, openers!

Coming to the wing halves, who can ever forget the Iron Man - Wilf Copping. Wilf could take and give knocks as hard as anyone, but he was also a footballer, the sort of man it was nicer to see with you than against you!

When Allison finally resigned in 1947, Whittaker was a natural choice to take over and in his first managerial years he had much success, instantly winning the first division title, after a parlous 1946/47 season for the club in which at one time relegation loomed. In 1950 the Gunners won the FA Cup for the first time since 1936.

Yet there was another less positive side to Whittaker and I encountered it as a 19-year-old journalist in 1951. I'd written or rather "ghosted" my first book, Cliff Bastin Remembers, the autobiography of one of the foremost Arsenal stars, supreme goal-scorer and left-winger, of the inter-War years. Tom had supplied the foreword. To my surprise, since I had simply put down exactly what Bastin in his forthright way thought, the book proved controversial and had extensive newspaper and magazine coverage. Going to Highbury to interview Whittaker, I was surprised, when I asked him what he thought of the book, to be told that he had never seen it: "I believe Cliff brought a couple of copies to the ground."

When the publishers heard this they were incensed; they'd given Cliff, they told me, special early copies; and they wrote to rebuke him. In return they had a letter rebuking me for telling them things untrue. I myself wrote to Cliff fully accepting his explanation and got a letter, my last ever from him, saying he quite understood my good faith; but he had heard Whittaker had said he wished he had never written the foreword. His final sentence read: "But in future, watch your step at Highbury." Whittaker had lied.

Far more serious was the Eddie Hapgood affair. Eddie, left-back and captain of pre-War Arsenal, had been my own particular hero. He himself had idolised Whittaker. In 1969 there appeared a book called Arsenal from the Heart by Bob Wall, who had crawled his way up from being Chapman's office boy to chief executive. The book alleged that at the end of the War, Hapgood and the former right-half and future Gunners' Manager "Gentleman" Jack Crayston had demanded benefit payments, been refused and had appealed unsuccessfully to the Football League. Then, when Arsenal, in better financial shape, had offered them the money, they had turned it down. Wall should have smelt a rat immediately. Such benefit payments, some £750 for each five years' of service, were purely optional, at the clubs' discretion. As luck had it, I was then due to go down to Weymouth in south west England to interview Eddie for a television programme I was making for the BBC series, One Pair Of Eyes. He was then in charge of a hostel for apprentices of the Atomic Agency. When I told him this tale he was horrified, and produced a folder of correspondence with Arsenal. Having lost his last managerial job at little Bath City, he had written to Arsenal asking for help, as he had never had a benefit. They sent him £30!

I told Wall of this and also told him that the Football League had no record of any such appeal. Where had he got the story? Answer: from Tom Whittaker! Was this because Whittaker, hoping to manage Arsenal, had feared opposition from Hapgood, whose reputation was still then so large? I asked to see the club's minutes. "The chairman wouldn't like it," countered Wall. "You can write whatever you like, Brian, and Arsenal will not reply." I did and they didn't.


Eddie Hapgood Football Legend, and the origin of humour in football journalism

While this web site does focus primarily on Arsenal and the football world 100 years ago, we do meander a bit to take in other eras – and in this case I am rushing forward 17 years from our regular 1910 haunt.

Eddie Hapgood was a milkman who was signed by Herbert Chapman from the second nearest club to my home – Kettering Town – in 1927. He went on to play 440 times for Arsenal, and 43 for England – 34 of those as captain.

As such he is sixteenth on Arsenal’s all time appearance list, and was at the very heart of our great team in the 1930s that dominated English football.

Eddie Hapgood’s autobiography “Football Ambassador” was the first ever such book – something that is hard to imagine when players now knock off the history of their lives after a couple of middle of the road seasons in the EPL. So important and ground breaking was this book that Sir Stanley Rous, who went on to become president of FIFA wrote the introduction.

What makes this book so worth reading is the way it dwells on Arsenal. Here is a man plucked out of obscurity to play for what was beyond any dispute the greatest team in the world – the team that dominated all football from 1930 to the outbreak of war in 1939.

And there is so much in this book that makes us realise that while some of football has changed out of all proportion, a lot hasn’t. Eddie signed for Kettering because they offered him the best deal going – £4 a week in the season, £3 a week in the off season, and a willingness to let him carry on working as a milkman in between. That’s the difference.

But the similarity is there is the next sentence – he played his first game for Kettering and got slated by the local press who criticised the manager for buying such a useless player. Remember the first games of Bergkamp, Henry and more recently Alex Song?

According to Eddie Hapgood, his interview for a transfer to Arsenal consisted of two questions from Herbert Chapman (with George Allison standing by his side in the offices at Kettering Town).

First, “Do you smoke or drink?”

On receiving the right answer to both the second question was delivered:

“Would you like to sign for Arsenal?”

It is a great read, and I recommend it, but there is one point that I want to throw in that is highly personal. If you have read some of my ramblings here in the past you will know that I recently published a book about Arsenal’s history – “Making the Arsenal”. In that story the central figure is a journalist at the Daily Chronicle who writes bizarre and eccentric commentaries on football matches.

Some people have told me that “reporting was never like that” – and that it is all too fanciful.

Well I would refer you to the verbatim report of the Kettering v Arsenal friendly that is at the end of the first chapter of Eddie Hapgood’s book. It is wonderfully wild – my man from the Chronicle could not have done better. It is worth buying this book just for that. Oh football reporting, what every happened to you?

“Football Ambassador” has been out of print for many years but is now available again thanks to the pioneering work of GCR Books who are systematically working through the archives of great Arsenal books from the past and bringing them back to life.

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery was the first football-related thriller and enjoys something akin to cult status in football-book circles. It’s of obvious interest to Arsenal supporters but as the story is primarily a murder-mystery it will also be an enjoyable read for lovers of a good, old-fashioned “whodunit”.

Following the success of The Arsenal Stadium Mystery “Forward Arsenal!” by Bernard Joy was re-published – the first history of Arsenal.

You’ll find details of all the books from GCR including “Football Ambassador” at http://www.gcrbooks.co.uk/

You really should read that book.

5 comments to Eddie Hapgood Football Legend, and the origin of humour in football journalism

Thanks for you information Tony.

After reading Making The Arsenal twice and I even liked it more after the second time. Then I have read the original book The Arsenal Stadium Mystery and really loved it.
Now I have just started on the book “Forward Arsenal!” by Bernard Joy and it really and looking forward to my travel with public transport to work where I can find the time to read those book. It is a great book from the start and all these books are a must have for the true gooner I would say.

Got to keep this in mind to order it one of these days.

My God what was this all about… I think I have been dancing in the street to much before I wrote my previous comment….

Talking of reporting and Woolwich Arsenal…

Now sure how generally known this is but with the difficulties of getting to the ground very few reporters enjoyed venturing down to see our games, yet virtually every paper reported our games.

George Allison used to write most of them from when he moved down to London (1906?)! He’d do different versions of the match report and they’d find their way to print. Rather amusingly (in his own book) he also reveals that when he was younger he used to write match reports on his own games and get them published under a different name. I have always wondered how often he’d have been the Man of the Match if that concept had been as common as it is now.

Ralph – George Allison is featured in “Making the Arsenal”, as the regular reporter for half a dozen papers who didn’t want to send reporters to Woolwich, and it is noted how he not only wrote under different names but in different styles.

In Making the Arsenal, Allison becomes friends with Jacko Jones – and then Allison becomes editor of the Arsenal programme. He uses it to attack the team as being useless, in order to try to provoke Norris into putting money into the club.

[…] has been the subject of a piece here before, when I wrote a piece about his autobiography The idea here is to complete the […]


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Goal.com's Top 50 English Players: Eddie Hapgood (36)

One of the shrewdest signings legendary manager Herbert Chapman ever made was that of left-back Eddie Hapgood, who became a key figure in the great Arsenal side of the 1930s that dominated English football like no club had done before. He became known as the "ambassador of football" - later the title of his autobiography - and is still regarded by many as the greatest left-back in Arsenal's history, despite the claims of other notables in that position such as Walley Barnes, Bob McNab, Sammy Nelson, Kenny Sansom and Nigel Winterburn.

Edris Albert Hapgood was born in a tenement in Barton Road, Bristol, on 24 September 1908, the ninth of ten children, and showed an early aptitude for the game, despite once being fined half-a-crown (12.5 pence now, but a substantial sum then) for putting a football through a window while playing in the street.

From the mid-1920s, Hapgood played amateur football for St Phillip’s Marsh Adult School Juniors, who competed in the local Downs League, while earning his living delivering milk for his brother-in-law's dairy. He came to the attention of Bristol Rovers, who gave him a trial in a reserve match against Taunton United on May 7, 1927. Eddie was offered a contract of £8 a week, conditional upon his delivering coal on behalf of one of the club's directors in the close-season. He turned it down, preferring to sign for Southern League Kettering Town. His wage was only £4 a week but Kettering were happy for him to continue working as a milkman, which proved to be the clincher.

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Vegetarian Eddie was so frail at this stage that he was frequently knocked out when heading the heavy leather balls. This was a cause of much concern and threatened to abort his embryonic career. But the Arsenal trainer, Tom Whittaker, determined that Hapgood was simply too light, weighing just 9 stone 6lbs, and needed to be built up. Whittaker introduced a regime of weight training and made the player start eating meat, putting him on a diet that was said to have consisted almost entirely of steak. It was a blow to speedy right-winger Joe Hulme, who shared digs with Hapgood and had been benefitting from Eddie's share of the meat but otherwise it was a winning formula, as Hapgood rapidly developed a strapping physique and would be known in for his strength, power, and heading ability.

After making his debut at Birmingham on 19 November 1927 as a deputy for the injured Horace Cope, Hapgood made two more League appearances that season, and played in each of Arsenal's last 17 League games in 1928-29 to establish himself as the club's first-choice left-back. The following season, 1929-30, Hapgood was ever-present in an FA Cup run that led Arsenal to their first major honour when they defeated Chapman's previous club Huddersfield Town 2-0 at Wembley.

It was the springboard to an unprecedented spell of success in which Hapgood, originally partnered at right-back by captain Tom Parker, then from the 1932-33 season by George Male, was a near-permanent fixture.


Captaining all-conquering Arsenal

Having succeeded Parker as Arsenal captain, the supremely confident Hapgood exuded calm authority as well as guts, making him a natural leader in the dressing room and on the pitch. It was inevitable that his prowess would be recognised by England, and he made his international debut against Italy in Rome, on 13 May 1933, a 1-1 draw. He duly became England captain too, and the first of his 21 games as skipper of the Three Lions was the infamous "Battle of Highbury" on 14 November 1934, against Italy, by now the reigning world champions following their World Cup triumph on home soil earlier that year.

Because England had declined to take part in the World Cup, the match was billed as the 'true' if unofficial World Championship match. Arsenal supplied an unprecedented seven members of the England side, plus Whittaker as trainer, and the man with the magic sponge had to work overtime in a notoriously violent contest. Among the casualties was Hapgood, who suffered a broken nose. Italian defender Luis Monti broke his foot in a challenge with Ted Drake in the opening exchanges, forcing Italy to play all but two minutes of the game with ten men. Enraged, they set about exacting retribution, and after Hapgood's facial features were temporarily rearranged by an opponent, forcing his withdrawal for 15 minutes, Ray Bowden injured his ankle, Drake was punched and Eric Brook had his arm fractured as England eventually triumphed 3-2.

Hapgood remained as England's captain throughout the 1930s, winning 30 caps. He was skipper in another infamous match, against Germany in Berlin in May 1938, when craven British diplomats, pursuing a line of appeasement towards Hitler's fascist dictatorship, insisted that Hapgood and his players give the Nazi salute before the match, even though the Fuhrer himself was not present. Hitler did, though, want to use the game as Nazi propaganda, and as the England players were getting changed an FA official went into their dressing-room and told them they must give the salute while the German national anthem was played. Stanley Matthews, one of Hapgood's team-mates that day, later reminisced, "The dressing room erupted. There was bedlam. All the England players were livid and totally opposed to this, myself included. Everyone was shouting at once. Eddie Hapgood, normally a respectful and devoted captain, wagged his finger at the official and told him what he could do with the Nazi salute, which involved putting it where the sun doesn't shine."

The FA official left but was back a few minutes later with a direct order from the British Ambassador in Berlin, telling the team that the sensitive political situation between Britain and Germany made it imperative they obey. England thrashed Germany 6-3 in front of 110,000 people including Goering and Goebbels just over a year later, the two countries were at war, appeasement having been utterly discredited.

From January 1928 until the outbreak of war in September 1939, Hapgood missed only 47 out of 437 League games for Arsenal but at he age of 30, the hostilities brought a premature end to his official playing career. He had made a total of 440 competitive first-team appearances, scoring two goals.

Hapgood served in the Royal Air Force during the war, while continuing to represent Arsenal and England (on a further 13 occasions) in unofficial matches. Sadly, however, it was during the war that Hapgood, who had idolised Chapman and greatly admired Whittaker, fell out with the Arsenal management. He had never seen fully eye-to-eye with Chapman's successor as manager, George Allison, and was unhappy when Allison loaned him out to Chelsea.

He eventually left the club under a cloud, without receiving the benefit payments his years of loyal service had deserved. In 1945, he was one of the first footballers to (ghost) write an autobiography, and after the war he moved into management with Blackburn Rovers. After the club finished in 17th place in 1946-47 he resigned, then taking over at Watford, but after two unsuccessful seasons he left the Hornets in 1950. He also took charge of non-league Bath City between 1950 and 1956.

On losing his job at Bath he encountered real financial difficulties and wrote to Arsenal asking if he could have the testimonial match he didn't receive as a player. The club refused, but did send him a cheque for all of £30. Hapgood ran a YMCA at Harwell and then Weymouth before retiring to Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. Attending a sports forum at Honiley Hall, Warwickshire, on 20 April 1973 - Good Friday - Eddie Hapgood died from a heart attack. He was 64 years old.

Five League Championship medals (1930-31, 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38)
Two FA Cup winners' medals (1930, 1936)
Four FA Charity Shield winners' medals (1930-31, 1931-32, 1933-34, 1934-35)
30 England caps plus 13 Wartime caps
Four Football League caps

DID YOU KNOW... Eddie Hapgood featured on the first ever recording of a football song, cut before the 1936 FA Cup final, where his Bristol accent could be picked out.


Bergkamp honoured, but what about Hapgood?

Bergkamp may not even have heard of Eddie Hapgood. Memories in English football, in sharp contrast with Italy’s, where bygone heroes are frequently recalled and praised, don’t care much about history, writes Brian Glanville.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, at the Emirates Stadium in North London, I watched as Arsenal and their ecstatic fans paid tribute to Dennis Bergkamp of whom a statue was unveiled outside the stand, shortly before the game. None was more forthcoming than the current long-serving Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, who said, after the game, “He changed the destiny of the club. He changed the way we play football.” During his distinguished spell at Arsenal, from season 1995-6 to season 2005-2006, Bergkamp won three League Championship medals and four FA Cup winners’ medals. At half-time, he gave an interview, modestly and engagingly, on the field, which was shown on the giant screen.

It wasn’t Wenger, in fact, who signed him. It is easily forgotten that the manager who brought him to the Gunners was in fact Bruce Rioch, who was dismissed the year before Wenger arrived from Greece to the ignorant opposition of a group of self-important Arsenal fans, who talked about “Arsene Who?” when, in fact, he had already had much success at Monaco.

So Bergkamp’s well-deserved commemorating statue was added to a number of others featuring previous Arsenal heroes. But there was none of Eddie Hapgood and, by coincidence, shortly before Bergkamp’s celebration, I received a letter from Lynne Hapgood, Eddie’s daughter, who wanted to talk to me about him. This I readily did, since, as she knew, he had been one of my earliest football heroes, and the subject some years ago of a poignant interview for a BBC programme in the series ‘One Pair of Eyes’. The idea of the programme was that the subject was asked to nominate a series of interviewees who had been important to him and Hapgood had been very important to me, virtually from my childhood.

In the first professional match I ever saw, as a 10-year-old at Wembley in January 1942, he captained England against Scotland from his familiar position of left-back. In all, he would play 43 times for England, including “unofficial” Wartime internationals, 34 of them as captain. England caps in those days were not as numerous as they are today, when someone such as David Beckham could even win them for a brief period on the field as a mere substitute. I went back to my boarding school, thrilled to get Hapgood’s autograph by post, drawing many crude pictures of that game and sending him laudatory letters till the master in charge stopped me. He never replied.

It was many decades later that I found myself travelling to Weymouth in Dorset to meet him. Having managed Blackburn Rovers immediately after the War, then modest Watford and non-League Bath City — whom he had successfully sued for libel after they had sacked him — he was reduced to running a hostel for apprentices of the Atomic Energy Authority. A sad anti-climax indeed to a career, which, had it taken place today, would have made him several times a millionaire.

By sheer chance, shortly before I went to Weymouth, a book called Arsenal From The Heart had appeared, the autobiography of one Bob Wall, who had risen from being an office boy at Arsenal to the position of chief executive, which he filled with an element of pompous self-satisfaction. In it, he alleged that just after the Second World War, Hapgood and another famous Gunner, right-half and future manager “Gentleman Jack” Crayston, had demanded benefits from the club, then amounting to about GBP650, substantial money then, and given every five years. But what Wall more than anybody should have known was that such benefits were optional, at the discretion of the club. No player could demand them.

Wall went on to state that Arsenal, then in serious debt after the War, refused such payment, whereupon Hapgood and Crayston appealed to the Football League and were turned down. When eventually offered the money by the club, they refused it.

Hapgood was horrified to hear this. He went into another room and returned with a file of letters. This showed that, short of money, he had written to the club with which he had won five Championship and two FA Cup medals in an exemplary career, asking them for financial help. To which they responded by offering him £30. He was almost tearfully distressed.

So I contacted the Football League, who told me they have no record of any such appeal, which I in turn told Bob Wall. When I asked him who had told him the story, he replied to my amazement, “Tom Whittaker”, for so long an iconic figure at Arsenal. First a player then as the trainer with “the magic hands” to whom sportsmen of all kinds, including the three times Wimbledon winner Fred Perry, came for treatment. Whittaker, who succeeded George Allison in 1947 with huge success as the Arsenal manager. Whittaker, whom Hapgood in his autobiography, Football Ambassador, had lauded as a father figure. I asked Wall if I might see the club’s minutes of the period involved, to which the inevitable reply was, “No, the Chairman wouldn’t like it.” To which he added, “You can write what you like, Brian, but Arsenal will not reply.” How could they?

In the event, I wrote a sulphurous piece about it in my Sunday newspaper column. Whittaker was dead. My theory was that if he had indeed told these lies about Eddie Hapgood, it was because he feared that Eddie, whose prestige at the time as a player and captain was immense, would be appointed Gunners’ manager rather than himself. Lynne Hapgood told me that her father often took her and his other children to see matches, but never Arsenal, whom he would not even mention.

Bergkamp may not even have heard of Eddie Hapgood. Memories in English football, in sharp contrast with Italy’s, where bygone heroes are frequently recalled and praised, don’t care much about history.

As for Bergkamp, he deserved the accolades he received that Saturday afternoon. His almost magical ball control, never more apparent than when at Newcastle he conjured up a goal of breath-taking virtuosity, so subtly contrived, initially with his back to the goal, that it almost defied description. He came to Arsenal from Internazionale of Milan, where he had been played up front, out of position, as he would be when he won his last Cup medal against Manchester United in Cardiff in 2005, where he looked so untypically ineffectual. A dour Arsenal scraped through that day on penalties, but Bergkamp at his best was a virtuoso.


Football and Fascism

When the England football team visited Germany in May 1938, diplomatic protocol resulted in the team giving a Nazi salute.

Politics and football are a dangerous combination. Yet football has largely been spared the worst excesses of political interference. Mussolini’s order to the Italian World Cup side of 1938 to win the trophy or not bother returning home – Italy won – has proved unusual.

But with another World Cup about to begin, a notorious example of political interference in the game is worth revisiting. In May 1938 the England football team visited Berlin and, before over 100,000 spectators, gave the Nazi salute. The reverberations of that incident still resound. As James Corbett comments in his book England Expects (De Coubertin, 2010): ‘No one incident in the history of British sport has caused such consternation and controversy.'

In 1938, international football, like much else, was overshadowed by the spectre of armed conflict. Before the First World War England had toured the hotbed of central European football, the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, with two foreign tours, the first in 1908 to play Austria, Hungary and Bohemia. Germany was not on the itinerary.

When peace returned to Europe after 1918, England began playing friendlies with her wartime allies, France and Belgium, then Sweden, Luxembourg, Spain, and even her war-time enemies Austria and Germany. Austria proved a difficult opponent, narrowly defeated 3-2 in 1932. Earlier, during the Weimar Republic, a match against Germany took place in Berlin on May 10th, 1930, ending in a 3-3 draw. A visit by the Germans to London in December 1935, after the Nazi takeover, led to a 3-0 England victory, but aroused little controversy and became just another score to put in the record books.

By May 1938 the climate had changed. The aggressiveness of Nazi Germany had become ever more apparent only a few weeks earlier Hitler had annexed Austria in the Anschluss . Most of England’s footballers were apolitical, barely aware of the disappearance of what had been their most potent sporting foe. But when they reached Berlin it became clear that this would not be an ordinary match.

Recalling what happened six years after the event, the England captain, Eddie Hapgood, suggested that the British Olympic team had caused offence to their German hosts in 1936 when it had given neither the Nazi salute nor that of the Olympic movement (the right arm flung sideways rather than upwards in the manner of the Nazis) and ‘the authorities’ were anxious to avoid more controversy.

Quite which authorities Hapgood was referring to has never been fully established. It is generally accepted that Britain’s Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Nevile Henderson, a staunch supporter of appeasement, was consulted, but whether he ordered the salute is disputed. According to Hapgood, the two British officials in charge, Charles Wreford-Smith and the new FA Secretary Stanley Rous, visited Henderson voluntarily as they were uncertain of the protocol. Hapgood suggests Rous proposed that the team give the salute, a move Henderson endorsed. The FA officials then informed Hapgood, who objected to doing anything more than standing for the German national anthem. However, he had little choice and he informed the team. It led to ‘much muttering in the ranks’, as he describes in his book Football Ambassador (GCR, 2009). Wreford Brown then told the team that ‘there were undercurrents of which we knew nothing, and that it was virtually out of his hands and a matter for the politicians rather than the sportsmen’.

Two other participants have given their views. Rous, in his autobiography, Football Worlds (Faber, 1978), claimed that he had indeed gone to see Henderson, who said to him that the salute had little political significance but gave no orders to give it, seeing it as just a courtesy. Rous claimed he put that view to the players ‘leaving the choice up to them’, explaining though that their decision could affect the atmosphere at the stadium. He writes that ‘all the players agreed they had no objection, and no doubt saw it as a bit of fun’.

This was not how England’s star winger Stanley Matthews remembered it. In The Way It Was (Headline, 2001), Matthews reports that, when an FA official came into the dressing room to tell the team to give the salute, ‘The dressing room erupted. All the England players were livid and totally opposed to this, myself included … Eddie Hapgood told him what he could do with the Nazi salute, which involved putting it where the sun don’t shine.’ The official, according to Matthews, went away and came back saying he had ‘a direct order from Sir Nevile Henderson … that had been endorsed by the FA Secretary Stanley Rous … the political situation between Great Britain and Germany was now so sensitive that it needed “only a spark to set Europe alight”’. Faced with this virtual ultimatum, the team agreed to give the salute.

There is no disagreement about what happened when the England team took to the pitch. The squad had only arrived two days earlier after a long boat and rail trip, but the Germans had spent a fortnight training in the Black Forest and the regime expected a propaganda victory. Hitler was not present at the match, but leading Nazis such as Hess, Ribbentrop and Goering sat alongside Henderson in the Führer’s box as the teams took to the pitch. The English team had two seasoned pros in Hapgood and Cliff Bastin of Arsenal, but of the rest none had more than nine caps and two of the players – Frank Broome of Aston Villa and Donald Welsh of Charlton – were playing their first internationals. It would be a baptism of fire for them.

England won 6-3, a moral victory over political manoeuvering that initially defused the controversy over the England team’s Hitler salute. However, when war finally became reality 14 months later, the match came to be seen in another perspective. Matthews relates that the day before the game, he and the full-back Bert Sproston had gone for a stroll and seen Hitler’s cavalcade drive past with passers-by springing to salute the Führer. Sproston turned to Matthews and said: ‘Stan, I’m just a working lad from Leeds. I know nowt about politics and the like. All I knows is football. But t’way I see it, yon ‘Itler feller is an evil little twat.’ Sproston crudely but presciently expressed what would become the verdict of history.

Trevor Fisher is the author of Oscar and Bosie: A Fatal Passion (Sutton, 2002).


A bizarre history of loans: Where did it really all begin?

Permanent deals might not be so hot in January, but short-term ones could be &ndash especially after the Football League scrapped the ‘emergency loan’ window last summer. But how did it all start, and what brought the most controversy?

“Who on Earth is A.H. Chequer?”

That was the question asked by spectators when they saw this unfamiliar name on the Wanderers teamsheet ahead of the very first FA Cup final, played between Wanderers and Royal Engineers in March 1872.

In fact, ‘A.H. Chequer’ was a pseudonym for Morton Betts, who usually played for Harrow Chequers (hence ‘A Harrow Chequer’). The Chequers had decided to pull out of the tournament after the first round, but that didn’t stop Betts playing in the final. And, inevitably, he scored the game’s only goal.

After a “secret meeting” in Blackburn, the FA intervened to prevent three loanees from taking part in an FA Cup quarter-final

The loaning of players was common during football’s early amateur days, although &ndash as the use of the pseudonym suggests &ndash the practice of borrowing ringers for big matches was frowned upon as being rather unsporting.

More often than not, though, loans were made out of necessity. If an away team turned up a man or two short, perhaps due to injuries or travel problems, they would borrow some players from the home team in order to make up the numbers. The loaning of players didn’t really become an issue until football turned professional, and players became bound by contract to their parent clubs.

In 1885, Blackburn included three players on loan &ndash Great Lever captain Tot Rostron, Preston forward Fred Dewhurst and Accrington half-back George Haworth (or Howarth, according to some sources) &ndash for an FA Cup quarter-final against West Brom. However, after a “secret meeting” in Blackburn, the FA intervened to prevent the loanees from taking part. Even without them, Rovers triumphed 2-0 and progressed to the semi-final, then the final, where they played Scottish trailblazers Queen’s Park.

Surprisingly, George Haworth (transparently named as “George Haworth of Accrington” in newspaper match previews) was allowed to play for Blackburn in the final, and he helped his adopted team to another 2-0 win. Rovers were accused of having “sacrificed any pride” by “begging permission” of the FA to field Haworth. But, as one newspaper pointed out, opponents Queen’s Park were no strangers to borrowing players and were able to call up “all the good players in Scotland”. So Rovers had only done what they had to do “in order to vanquish their formidable opponents”.

When will something be done to check the wholesale system of borrowing players to help a club to escape or pull through the test fixtures?

Leading sports paper Athletic News was heavily critical of the loaning of players for cup ties, calling it an “objectionable and unfair proceeding”. Borrowing players didn’t just give teams an unfair advantage, the paper said, but also created “unhealthy competition” for the services of the best players, increasing the “evil of professionalism”. Clubs were often making disruptive approaches for players, and players were becoming mercenaries, turning out for whichever clubs paid the most.

After the Football League was formed, and expanded to add a second and third division, teams began to borrow players ahead of potentially lucrative “test matches” &ndash the original relegation and promotion play-offs.

“When will something be done to check the wholesale system of borrowing players to help a club to escape or pull through the test fixtures?” asked one football journalist in 1898. This followed Manchester City’s borrowing of England full-back Tommy Clare from Burslem Port Vale for a crucial end-of-season game at Newcastle. City actually lost the game, and missed out on the test matches, but the whole affair was regarded as “nothing short of a scandal”.

At a meeting in April 1898, the FA banned “the loaning and borrowing of players for special matches”. Not all clubs heeded the ban. In 1901, Middlesbrough and Glossop were reprimanded following the loan transfer of goalkeeper James Saunders to Boro, and Preston were fined £5 for signing John Wilkie on loan from Partick Thistle. In the ensuing commotion, it was reiterated that such loans were not allowed under FA and Football League rules, and that any club that was party to them would be “severely dealt with”.

Loans returned during the Second World War, when Football League competition was suspended and replaced by a regional Wartime League. Many footballers joined the armed forces and it was difficult for clubs to raise teams from their significantly reduced pools of players, so a ‘guest player’ system was introduced, which allowed clubs to loan players on a match-by-match basis.

This led to some of football’s biggest stars making unlikely appearances for rival clubs. Stan Mortensen of Blackpool guested for Arsenal, Eddie Hapgood of Arsenal guested for Chelsea, and Stan Cullis of Wolves guested for Liverpool, while another notable Liverpool loanee was Preston’s Bill Shankly. The future Reds manager made an appearance as a Liverpool player in a 1942 win over Everton.

The best players were very much in demand during wartime, and some played for different clubs within the same week, or even on the same day. On Christmas Day 1940, future England international Len Shackleton played for Bradford Park Avenue during the morning and then for Bradford City in the afternoon, finding the net in both matches.

One of the most high-profile wartime loanees was Stoke City’s Stanley Matthews, regarded as “England’s number one football personality”. Matthews joined the RAF and was based near Blackpool, making more than 80 guest outings for the Seasiders and later joining the club on a permanent basis. The England wideman also played some wartime games for Manchester United and Arsenal, and even made an international guest appearance for Scotland.

Several professional players were based at the Aldershot Garrison army training camp, which was fantastic news for the original Aldershot FC. The lowly third-division outfit were able to call up England senior internationals Stan Cullis, Joe Mercer, Cliff Britton, Tommy Lawton and Frank Swift, plus Scotland’s Matt Busby, to create what must surely be the most formidable team of loanees ever assembled.

After the war, as football got back on its feet and clubs rebuilt their sides, the guest player system was phased out, and loans were pretty much off the table once more. They were only properly sanctioned following the end of football’s ‘retain and transfer’ system, which was scrapped in 1963, leading to a loosening of some of the restrictions surrounding players’ contracts, and also to the abolition of the maximum wage cap.

Then, in 1966, the Football League made what newspapers called a “most startling proposal” to allow the “temporary transfer of players” &ndash with certain restrictions. Each club could make only two loan transfers per season, and transfer fees could not be paid. Loans had to last for at least three months, and they could only be made between clubs in different divisions.

The rules surrounding loan transfers would be changed over subsequent years, notably in 1995 after the Bosman ruling &ndash which shook up the entire transfer system &ndash and then in 2003 with the lifting of the restriction on loans having to be made between clubs in different divisions. There were also temporary bans, such as in 1980, when loan transfers of players other than goalkeepers was outlawed. But the 1966 proposal effectively put into place the loan system as we know it today.

In 1967, Torquay United signed 19-year-old winger John Docker on loan from Coventry. Docker scored twice on his Torquay debut, a 3-0 win over local rivals Exeter, but played only three more games during his loan and never played at all for Coventry. So while he hardly had an illustrious career, Docker can perhaps be remembered as the first signing under the new loan transfer system.


Two years since deadly Caribbean hotel altercation, Scott Hapgood's case stalls

Darien man Scott Hapgood hugs his wife, Kallie Hapgood, at Town Hall in Darien, Conn. Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 as U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and the town show support for him in his manslaughter charge from a family vacation in Anguilla.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

Considered a “fugitive from justice” for refusing to return to Anguilla, Darien’s Scott Hapgood awaits the findings of a magistrate’s investigation into the manslaughter charge he faces.

Alexei Hay / For Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

Darien man Scott Hapgood wipes away a tear beside his wife, Kallie Hapgood, at Town Hall in Darien, Conn. Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 as U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and the town show support for him in his manslaughter charge from a family vacation in Anguilla.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

Darien man Scott Hapgood speaks at Town Hall in Darien, Conn. Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 as U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and the town show support for him in his manslaughter charge from a family vacation in Anguilla.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

DARIEN &mdash A case that drew international attention, outrage on a Caribbean island and even piqued the interest of former President Donald Trump, has gone silent.

Tuesday will mark two years since Darien investment banker Scott Hapgood was involved in a deadly altercation with a hotel worker while vacationing with his family in Anguilla.

The 27-year-old hotel worker, Kenny Mitchel, was killed during the incident. Hapgood was charged with manslaughter and has been considered a &ldquofugitive from justice&rdquo since skipping a court hearing in November 2019.

The criminal and civil lawsuits associated with the incident have stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesman for the Hapgoods declined to comment and said the family did not want to be interviewed. An attorney representing the mother of Mitchel&rsquos child also declined to comment.

Claiming he fears for his life, Hapgood has refused to return to the British island. After the missed court appearance, Anguillian authorities threatened to have Hapgood arrested and extradited back to the Caribbean, but no action has been taken.

At the direction of a higher judge, a magistrate is conducting an inquiry into whether the prosecution should continue without Hapgood present for court hearings.

Hapgood&rsquos appeal of the higher judge&rsquos ruling was denied.

What happens next will depend on the magistrate&rsquos investigation, and it remains unknown when that will be completed.

Hapgood, 46, contends that Mitchel unexpectedly showed up at his family&rsquos room at the Malliouhana Resort on April 13, 2019, to fix a sink that wasn't reported broken. Hapgood had been at the resort vacationing with his family, including his three children, two of whom were in the room when Mitchel arrived.

Mitchel was an employee of the resort and was wearing a hotel uniform when he showed up at the room, according to Hapgood's attorneys.

In a lawsuit filed against the resort, Hapgood contends Mitchel pulled out a knife, demanded money and attacked him. The lawsuit claims Hapgood acted in self-defense when he fought with Mitchel. Hapgood restrained Mitchel for nearly an hour as resort officials failed to immediately call police or an ambulance, the lawsuit claimed.

Mitchel&rsquos estate has filed its own lawsuit against Hapgood, claiming the former UBS banker kept his arm on the younger man's neck for more than 40 minutes. The findings were supported by an autopsy, which said Mitchel died of prone restraint, positional asphyxia and blunt-force trauma to the head, neck and torso.


Arsenal signed Eddie Hapgood, a left-back from the non-leagues, in 1927, and these are the enormous footsteps Cohen Bramall now finds himself stepping in.

Hapgood cost Herbert Chapman £950 when he purchased him from Kettering Town while Bramall will cost Arsenal £40,000 at least (although when you adjust for inflation, Hapgood cost £53,833 in today’s money).

Arsenal signed left back Eddie Hapgood from non-League Kettering Town for £950. He went on to captain Arsenal and England in the 1930s. #AFC

&mdash AFCPressWatch (@AFCPressWatch2) January 5, 2017

The defender spent 17 years at Arsenal making 393 league appearances and winning five League titles, two FA Cups and 30 international caps. For 10 years, between 1929 and 1939, Eddie played 32 or more games each season having forced his way in to the first team two years after arriving.

England and Arsenal captain Eddie Hapgood before a friendly fixture at Highbury Stadium between the England team and a ‘Rest of Europe’ side, 26th November 1938. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Had the war not intervened it could have been even better for Hapgood who was still only 30 in 1939, but by 1945 he had cut ties with the club.

On the back of his autobiography, Hapgood is quoted, “There was a feeling, that, once you put on an Arsenal shirt, nothing could go wrong, that your team was better than all the others.



“’Arsenal atmosphere’ it was called by those on the outside, but we knew it was team spirit, an indefinable something which carried us to the heights, kept us there, and which won us games that, by all the laws and rights, we should have lost.”


Arsenal and the Community Shield: Part 1 - The Golden Era of the 1930s [A "Brief" History]

With the Community Shield now behind us and yet another victory under our belt I thought itɽ be an ideal time to take yet another gander back at Arsenal's storied history. Though to some (read: the losers) it's just a glorified pre-season friendly, for many the Community (nee Charity) Shield is an important setup to a season. Getting a win in it is seen as evidence that the team has its collective head screwed on right and winning it is proof that your team has the ability in there somewhere to beat one of the best teams of the previous season. Wenger certainly takes the competition seriously - there's a reason he's won the Shield 7 times and one only needs to look at his rivalry with Ferguson to see why teams like Arsenal take the Shield match seriously. But the Shield has been part of Arsenal's history for far longer than that today Iɽ like to take a look at the earliest examples of Arsenal's 15 victories in the Charity Shield match and hopefully you'll enjoy this latest entry into the increasingly inaccurate "Brief" History lookbacks into the days of Arsenal past.

Arsenal (1929-30 FA Cup Winners) v Sheffield Wednesday (1929-30 First Division Champions)

Arsenal XI (W-M) Manager: Herbert Chapman

RFB Tom Parker CFB Herbie Roberts LFB Eddie Hapgood

RCH Bill Seddon LCH Bob John

RIF David Jack LIF Jimmy Brain

RW Joe Hulme CF Jack Lambert LW Cliff Bastin

Arsenal’s first appearance in the FA Charity Shield was a victorious one. The 1929-30 league campaign hadn’t been a good one for the team, ending in a 14th place finish (although Arsenal were among the teams with the highest scoring matches (6-6 v Leicester) and the biggest victory margin (8-1 v Sheffield United) a far cry from Sheffield Wednesday’s domination of the league as they claimed their 4th and currently last league title. Arsenal qualified for the Charity Shield off the back of their first FA Cup victory - the campaign saw Arsenal win 2-0 v Chelsea, 1-0 v Birmingham, 2-0 v Middlesbrough, 3-0 v West Ham, 1-0 v Hull and a 2-0 win in the final against Huddersfield. On paper, the Shield looked close - though Sheffield had outperformed Arsenal in the league overall, against each other they each had a win (Arsenal lost 2-3 at home and won 2-0 away). In the end however, Arsenal took the lead through Joe Hulme before David Jack doubled the lead. Sheffield’s goal came through a penalty, given away by a Jack handball and converted by their Inside-Left, Harry Burgess. Ultimately, it wasn't enough to stop Arsenal winning the game and lifting their first Charity Shield!

Arsenal (1930-31 First Division Champions) v West Brom (1930-31 FA Cup Winners)

Arsenal XI (2-3-5) Manager: Herbert Chapman

RFB Tom Parker LFB Eddie Hapgood

RCH Charlie Jones CH Herbie Roberts LCH Alf Haynes

RIF David Jack LIF Alex James

RW Joe Hulme CF Jack Lambert LW Cliff Bastin

Arsenal’s second Charity Shield came only a year after their first. The 1930-31 Football League season saw Arsenal claim their first First Division title after 42 games Arsenal stood at the top of the table with 66 points and 127 goals scored (incidentally, the season saw 8 teams across the Divisions score over 100 goals, the most in Football League history and of those 127 goals Arsenal scored 60 of them away from home, a club record in the Football League - on another joyous note the 1930-31 season saw Manchester United relegated, finishing bottom of the division with 22 points so there’s hope for Mourinho yet!). They faced off against West Brom, whose FA Cup-winning campaign had been helped immensely by the prolific striker and West Brom legend Ginger Richardson, culminating in his scoring a brace in a 2-1 final win against Birmingham. He couldn’t find the net in the Charity Shield match however instead it would be Cliff Bastin who made the difference in a 1-0 win to claim Arsenal’s second Charity Shield.

Everton (1932-33 FA Cup Winners) v Arsenal (1932-33 First Division Champions)

Arsenal XI (2-3-5) Manager: Herbert Chapman

RFB George Male LFB Eddie Hapgood

RCH Bob John CH Norman Sidey LCH Charles Jones

RIF Ray Bowden LIF Alex James

RW Ralph Birkett CF Ernest Coleman LW Frank Hill

Arsenal’s entry into their 3rd Charity Shield again came about as a result of a league win. The 1932-33 season saw Arsenal top the league with 58 points, just ahead of Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday (54 and 51 respectively). Again Arsenal participated in the highest scoring games thanks to their formidable front 5 - the biggest home win was an 8-0 trouncing of Blackburn Rovers, the biggest away win was a 7-1 drubbing of Wolverhampton and one of the highest scoring games in the league was a 9-2 victory over Sheffield United. In the Charity Shield Arsenal faced Everton who had come in off the back of a 3-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup final and who had an unusual home advantage given the game was played at Goodison Park. Didn’t stop Arsenal though - a brace from Birkett and another from Bowden saw Everton comfortably dispatched on their own turf and Arsenal claimed their third Charity Shield victory.

Arsenal (1933-34 First Division Champions) v Manchester City (1933-34 FA Cup Winners)

Arsenal XI (2-3-5) Manager: George Allison

RFB George Male LFB Eddie Hapgood

RCH Frank Hill CH Norman Sidey LCH Wilf Copping

RIF James Marshall LIF Bob John

RW Ralph Birkett CF Ted Drake LW Cliff Bastin

Arsenal claimed another league title in the 1933-34 season, finishing top with 59 points, marginally ahead of Huddersfield Town, who finished 2nd with 56 points (incidentally Spurs finished a distant third with only 49 points so they didn’t even put the pressure on this season). The stats suggest that this season either saw Arsenal’s frontline faltering or that teams in the First Division had finally cottoned onto how defending works as in this season Arsenal scored a positively paltry 75 goals (the highest scoring team that year was Sunderland, amazingly, with a tally of 81). Despite that, the Gunners claimed their 3rd league title. In the FA Cup Arsenal were eliminated by Aston Villa in the 6th round their Charity Shield opponents, Manchester City would go on to knock out Villa 6-1 in the semi-finals before winning the final against Portsmouth courtesy of a brace from Man City Hall of Famer, Fred Tilson. The teams met at Highbury unlike Everton before them, Arsenal were able to capitalise on the home advantage and destroyed Manchester City 4-0, with goals coming from the front four of Birkett, Marshall, Drake and Bastin.

Arsenal (1937-38 First Division Champions) v Preston North End (1937-38 FA Cup Winners)

Arsenal XI (2-3-5) Manager: George Allison

RFB George Male LFB Les Compton

RCH Jack Crayston CH Bernard Joy LCH Wilf Copping

RIF Leslie Jones LIF Bryn Jones

RW Alfred Kirchen CF Ted Drake LW Horace Cumner

We were a bit of a force in the 1930s, weren’t we? Arsenal’s 5th Charity Shield came after winning the league in the 1937-38 season the Gunners finished top with 52 points scraping in past Wolverhaptom Wanderers (2nd, 51) and the then-mighty Preston North End (3rd, 49). It’s safe to say Arsenal’s home record won them the league that year the club’s 15 home wins were rivalled by no-one and it made up for our dismal away record (6W 6D 9L). In the FA Cup we were eliminated by the eventual winners, Preston, in a tight 1-0 game. Preston’s FA Cup final was equally tight - Huddersfield Town held them to 0-0 for nearly 120 minutes but conceded a penalty in the 119th minute which was put away by George Mutch to win Preston the cup. Other than the FA Cup loss, Arsenal had beaten Preston both times they met in the First Division. On home ground once again for the Charity Shield, Ted Drake scored twice to put Arsenal ahead at half-time. Though Bobby Beattie would pull one back for Preston in the second-half, it wasn’t enough to stop the Gunners from claiming their 5th Shield.

And we're going to stop there before this post overruns like my other ones! In the real world, club football went on a break following the 1938-39 season for reasons that perhaps are pretty obvious. Following the Second World War football slowly started to return to England - the Charity Shield returned in 1948 and it's there that the next installment of this Brief History will start, so keep an eye out for that in the coming days!

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this first part on Arsenal's history of Charity/Community Shield wins! If you want more of this rambling nonsense, I have a couple of older articles you're welcome to check out - one is about the history of Arsenal's blue kits and the other is about the dreaded Curse of the #9. I'll see you in a few days with the next part of Arsenal's history of Shield victories!


Watch the video: Eddie Jones once did a finger-roll from one step inside the 3-point line. The Jump (December 2022).

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